My friend is vegan and I’d love to bake her some cupcakes for her birthday. Can you give me any advice?

Baking egg-less and dairy-free cupcakes is as simple as simple can be! These handy hints will get you on the road to vegan-baking-bliss!Whatever your cupcake and baking questions our experts can help (1)

  • Experiment with plant-based ingredients to find the ones you prefer. Soya milk or rice milk are excellent replacements for dairy milk. Coconut and nut milks are great too, but they will add additional flavour to your bakes.
  • Vegan cupcakes are easier made using flavour less oils rather than margarine to replace the butter, because margarines have added water. Using vegetable, sunflower or light rapeseed oil in a cupcake will produce a moist bake with a delicate crumb.
  • Eggs can be replaced with fruit or vegetable purées, soya yoghurt, ground flaxseed, curdled soya milk or a commercially made egg replacement product.
  • Don’t over-stir your batter! Only ever stir wet and dry ingredients until they are just combined. Avoid using an electric mixer or going heavy on the hand-mixing because you will end up with a dense, thick cake. Ignore what you know about ‘whipping air into the batter to make it light and fluffy’, this does not work with vegan baking!
  • Mix all of your dry ingredients first and then add your liquid ingredients in at the last second. Without eggs in the bake, you are relying entirely on your baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to do the leavening, so don’t let them start doing their business until it is just about time to pop them in the oven.Whatever your cupcake and baking questions our experts can help (2)
  • Don’t decorate or eat it straight away – let it rest. After you make your cupcakes, they will often have a thin ‘crusty’ layer along the top. You can eliminate this crispness by placing your completely cooled cupcakes into an airtight plastic container for a couple of hours or overnight. The moisture of the cake is then allowed to work its way through and you will be left with a very soft sponge.

Melissa Morgan, www.mscupcake.co.uk

My cupcakes keep peeling away from their liners once they’ve cooled. What can I do to stop this?

When you bake your cupcakes, make sure they are 100% ready before you remove them. You should be able to gently press the top of the cupcake and the cake rebounds immediately when you lift away. Once out of the oven, you need to remove them from the muffin tray immediately and place them on a cooling rack. Whatever your cupcake and baking questions our experts can help (3)

This is very important, as it allows the air to circulate and stops condensation building up in the cases, which is often why they peel. Opening the oven in the first 10 minutes of baking not only makes cupcakes sink in the middle, but it can contribute to cases peeling. Also, make sure your muffin tin is really dry and clean.

If you’ve used poor quality cases, you may find grease marks left in the muffin tin. If you don’t dry this with some paper towel you will find the next cupcakes you bake will peel. Purchase quality cases. Most of the cases you can buy in supermarkets will fade when used or even peel away from the cakes. A good quality case will give you a professional finish.

I personally love the white cases from Lakeland. There are many causes for cases peeling, but if you stick to these rules you should find that peeling cases are very few and far between.

Shelly Baker, www.mrsbakerscakes.co.uk

Could you please explain the difference to me between food contact glitter and edible glitter, and also how I use these on my cupcakes?

Food Contact Glitter has been tested and approved for use on and around food. It should be used on decorations that can easily be removed from the cake prior to consuming. Applying the glitter to your decorations is easy and, to ensure that no stray glitter contaminates your cake, use Rainbow Dust Cake Decorators Glaze.

This type of glitter is extremely popular, and comes in a large palette of colours and gives the wow factor to your cakes. Examples of decorations used with this type of glitter are: flowers, butterflies, wired shapes etc – this type of decoration is easily removed. Edible Glitter is used when you require a glitter that is intended to be consumed along with the cake.Whatever your cupcake and baking questions our experts can help (4)

The colours range from delicate pastels to strong bold colours and, although it doesn’t have the same vibrancy as the food contact glitter, it still gives a nice sparkly finish that cake decorators strive for. It can be used on desserts, cupcakes, ice cream, tarts and more.

When applying the glitter to your cake decorations, a small amount of Rainbow Dust Edible Glue is all you need. If the surface is tacky, as for ice cream and jam tarts for instance, just sprinkle liberally onto the surface.

Tracy Howard, www.rainbowdust.co.uk